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Ups and Downs

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Ups and Downs

A Decade Later: Getting past failure, fraud in the midst of the financial crisis…


The world was seemingly coming to an end.  Nearly every major financial institution had crumbled, or was on the verge.  Six weeks prior I had received confirmation of the news I dreaded: I had sold my business to a con artist.  If there were any chance of salvaging my life’s work, I would have to attempt to re-possess my business.  I set the legal wheels in motion in September of 2008. I watched with morbid trepidation the days excruciatingly pass, awaiting the arrival of October 30.  That was the date the papers would be served, as the world’s financial markets fell into utter chaos more and more each day.


As bad as I thought things were, they were far worse.  Sales tax had not been paid in months.  My first phone call was to the State of Tennessee.  I explained what had transpired.  The agent with the state congratulated me: The business was on the schedule, to be padlocked by the state, on Monday November 4th.


You could walk blindfolded across the garden center lot and not run into a plant.


My dad preached the gospel of credit worthiness. We never paid an invoice late.  At least I had my credibility to see us through.  There was one problem: my credit references had been used fraudulently by the purchaser of my business.  He had accumulated over a million dollars of debt with 153 different vendors, and they all thought I owed it to them; that I had created the debt.  Despite the fact that I had been an avid runner for several years, I gained 30 pounds in the month of November.  The stress of dealing with bill collectors and justifiably angry vendors was killing me…


I am thankful I don’t ‘live’ in that dark place any longer. Gratefully, I have lost the negative emotions associated with that time, along with the weight gained.  I am grateful to have a great many friends, like You.  Life has its ups and downs.


David Bates


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